Skip to main content

tv   Book Discussion on Exit Berlin  CSPAN  July 19, 2014 4:03pm-4:53pm EDT

4:03 pm
legacy to be? what's the future for marion barry? >> i have two more years left on the council, til '16. that's a given. and i'm not going to telegraph my -- [inaudible] about that. i learned long ago in boxing not to telegraph your punches. only thing i can say is i'm on the council for two more years. in terms of my legacy, there's so many things. but i guess if i had to summarize it, it would be a person who cared deeply about every human being, particularly those low income black people, particularly the hispanics who do this and those women who undergo a lot of discrimination themselves. and the other thing i want to, i want to to try to get upon for my legacy, being instructive to people.
4:04 pm
that they, too, can succeed in spite of it all. they, too, can overcome if they believe in themselves, believe in almighty god, whatever you want to call god. and if you have audacity, develop the courage and strong feeling about yourself. and is -- [inaudible] in here? come up here a minute. i want to use this as an example of my legacy. i met jenelle spencer in 2004 at my victory party in ward 8. and after i started talking to her, i found out that she had not had a high school -- stand there -- high school diploma or ged. had four boys, raising them by
4:05 pm
herself, and she had refused to go on welfare. she worked two and three jobs, and i got her into public housing because she was paying $1,000 which was 60 some percent of her income, and she went to school, got her high school diploma, got a certificate of nurse's aide about four or five months ago. she passed the licensed practical nurse exam -- [applause] and she's going to enter udc school of nursing in august to get her rn with a four-year bachelor's program. [applause] that's what i want to leave people with. thank you, jenelle. thank you. >> thank you so much. [applause] all right, did you -- this
4:06 pm
gentleman up here has a question in the corner here. if you could speak into the mic, please. >> we've known each other for a number of years. >> let me just thank the people here. >> i know. >> i thank you all immensely for coming. whether you bought a book or not, i thank you. i thank you. [applause] i thank you. >> you almost started preaching there for a moment, but that's good. >> well, you're a preacher, you take care of that. [laughter] >> but as the president of the national business league, current president, i look back on what berkeley burrell did for me, what ted hagens has done for the city. all this because of marion barry, so i commend you highly for the work that you've done, especially for the small business community, because that's something that would not have happened had it not been for you. [applause] you are the only mayor of all the mayors we've had that i've ever made a dime from. because of you, man, i thank you so much, and i commend you for all you've done.
4:07 pm
>> thank you, ron. ron evans. thank you. >> this lady in the second row? [applause] >> mayor, if you were the emperor of the united states, you had limitless power, what would you do about poverty in america? >> you know, i don't answer if questions. i really don't. no personal offense. i'm not emperor, and i never will be emperor. i'm not being hostel or anything -- hostile or anything, that's just my style. stay out of difficulty from time to time is asking and answering what if questions. i'd rather asked my opinion about something for the future, but i'll answer the poverty question. poverty so evasive. i'm sorry, massive, i'm sorry. poverty so massive in this country. you know, what, 42 million
4:08 pm
people on food stamps? both black and white? appalachia? you've got poor white people. some places in west virginia got poor white people. and poverty will not be eradicated or reduced until everybody in the country, every legislator, every governor, every mayor, every everybody get involved. now, we going to make a department here because we're going -- a dent here because we're going to be working hard and getting people on tanf which is temporary and needy families, get them a job. i appreciate the question, but it's, poverty so massive. somebody quoted somebody the other day, jim graham told me, he said helen keller said those who are well off have a
4:09 pm
understanding, have a hard time understanding those persons who are not well off. and it's a society problem. thank you very much. >> all right. we have this gentleman be over here. >> hi, major barry. -- mayor barry. one of the things that really strikes me about what you've been doing is economic growth. you look at economics, pride inc., during the civil rights movement it didn't seem that was a major focus. there's more economic inequality in america. i think there's less black businesses now than in the 1880s. washington were the difference. now we have the new silicon valley, we have microsoft, washington, d.c. is a leader in growth and we're a black city despite everybody else taking credit. why is this not in the forefront in the civil rights or in african-american leadership? i mean, this is what, you know, new jobs, well-paying jobs, private equity jobs, you know, the really good jobs in america are still being denied to those who serve their country, who are
4:10 pm
educated. and i think this is something that is really the non-told story of washington, d.c. in america. >> well, unfortunately when you are oppressed like a number of people were oppressed, your priorities are not -- [inaudible] survive. i mean, you grew up in a segregated society, your human dignity is at stake. and so the march on washington was jobs and voting rights. the basic point of this country, right to vote, is being eroded now. but there are a number of us who have been working on economic development situations. it hasn't caught on as much as it needs to be, but the last chapter of my book talks about civil rights. and that's what i think we ought to look at.
4:11 pm
incidentally, let me apologize for being a little bit late here. i'm usually about five or ten minutes late anyway. [laughter] my biological clock doesn't work right with the time clock. back when i was in college, i refused to take 8:00 class. i took a 9:00 class. but i really apologize to you all. we just got back from new york. had a great time in new york, a lot of shows including al sharptop's show. they tape it, they're going to show it sometime later. and the train was late. and so i apologize deeply for that. >> all right. we've got a question over there. >> yeah. greetings mr. mayor for life. how you doing? this is harold momentummer. >> hey, harold, how you doing? >> i'm doing great, thank you. i wanted to congratulate you on the book, and i want to headache
4:12 pm
sure everybody know -- make sure everybody knows you help with the the free d.c. movement. we have revenue and, definitely, we have a sense of urgency. so what is your opinion about the free d.c. movement? >> well, it was -- that happened in 1966, '67, '68. because the board of trade had gone on record as being opposed to home rule. i think our struggles must continue. we need statehood, statehood now, and some of us are going to work on that now, and then we're going to call on you and others to assist us in dealing with the statehood. can you imagine this budget is $11 billion. $7 billion of it come from you all local taxpayers, and the other come from us as a state
4:13 pm
from the federal government. but yet we go hat in hand -- we don't go hat in hand, we've got to go to the congress to get permission to spend our own money. we around the country, around the world obama and george bush and everybody else trying to bring democracy to iraq and so and so, you saw what's happening there, afghanistan, to the act stand in terms of violence -- pakistan in terms of violation. i'm in favor of terrorists being rooted out, but you talk about democracy around the world? come right back here to your home and the white house and the congress, and we don't have statehood here? something wrong with that picture. something wrong with that picture. [applause] >> oh, all right. you and then you. you'll be next. >> hey, margaret. >> i wanted to say my name is evangelist mary clement, and my
4:14 pm
nonprofit is called -- [inaudible] i want to thank you so kindly, marion barry, for your excellent leadership skills, vision, courage, tenacity. i want to ask you during the civil rights time were you ever injured at all while marching -- >> was i ever what? >> were you ever hurt? >> injured. >> did someone hurt you or any of those things? >> well, i was spat upon, i was pushed over a stool at the lunch counter, those kinds of things, but i was blessed not to have been shot like cheney, goodman -- >> [inaudible] >> right. in fact, we'll celebrate a big anniversary in mississippi this weekend. i can't go because i've got to stay here to work on this book and work in the government. but i was shot in march of 1977.
4:15 pm
the -- [inaudible] took over the wilson building and islamic center, and i'm getting off the elevator -- [inaudible] i got hit right in the chest. and god was there. the bullet probably ricocheted, and i survived. read more about it in the book. [laughter] >> joe, this lady back here has been waiting. >> i probably don't need a mic. [inaudible conversations] >> hello, margaret. >> hi, marion. >> how you doing? >> congratulations on the book. >> thank you. >> i'd like to answer his legacy question for him. i have an idea. i think that one of the colleges in this town, howard, udc, georgetown or george washington or maybe all of them should chair a seat for marion barry, and it should be about teaching kids in this town political science and how to run for
4:16 pm
office, because you are the greatest campaigner. i don't think there's anybody in this room that would deny it. and i cannot imagine that one of these schools should not do this. so i'm putting it out there. you can put it on the news. i think this is what should happen. [applause] >> thank you, margaret. [applause] some people are talking about that. trying to look at that. >> hello, mayor barry for life. i'm just saying my name is donna wood, i'm a second generation washingtonian, and when i read the information about being here, i was just, like, i had to be here. it's important to me because i want to let you know that you had a great impact on my life. -- [inaudible] is something i didn't hear about, it's about the career advancement demonstration project you had for students here in washington, d.c. because you made them know that kids in d.c. wanted to go to college. and i was a recipient of that. and for me being a recipient of that, you got paid, you got tuition through one of your programs, and i was, i graduated from howard university. [applause] >> thank you.
4:17 pm
>> also there's another thing, i came back and worked with the d.c. d. of recreation, and you had a program, the o say program. >> oh, yeah. >> and you put in hubs in some of the undeveloped, i guess the low income areas to try to help, you know, bring cultural activities, health and awareness and everything. and i just really wanted to stand up and let you know that you're just a great person because i never got to talk to him before. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. [applause] let me say that -- >> [inaudible] >> -- a lot of those programs i put into place have erodeed into hardly anything now. for instance, when i was mayor, i used to give $2,000 to every valedictorian, $1,000 to every saw lieu to have january and $500 to the most improved student. all that's gone. i used to give $1,000 to every
4:18 pm
student who was in the top 10% of his or her class. that's gone too. but we're going to bring some of that back. thank you. >> all right. we've got time for one more question, this gentleman. >> yeah, hi, mayor barry. one of the reasons you wrote this book was to say this is marion barry, so my question kind of springs from that. what do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about marion barry over the years? >> the biggest misconception is that most of my life is taken up with junk and scandals. and alleged corruption. that's -- most people know me even in d.c. from a 15 second sound bite, and nationally the united states government -- [inaudible]
4:19 pm
and we went by that too sent that tape to every ambassador in the world, to every president of every country in the world and sent it to other propaganda arm in the united states, i think it was -- [inaudible] something like that places. it ran on television. that's people's memory. some of these barry haters have contributed to it too. but that's all part of what we have to go through. i'm not fazed by -- [inaudible] washington d.c. as long as that gives them some hope and some help, then they can write what they want to write about me. i don't care. [laughter] [applause] you get that, mike? be i don't want care.
4:20 pm
>> i want to thank you so much for coming here tonight, and i also wanted to give you -- this is actually a very precious object. i don't know if you've gotten one of these before, it's the national press club coffee mug. >> i've got two others. [laughter] >> well, now you've got triplets. [laughter] so thank you so much for coming, and we're going to be outside signing your books. oh, we're going to be, i'm sorry, right over here signing your books. [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching booktv, nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2. in this next program on booktv, charlotte bonelli talks about a collection of letters written by a young german jew and her family trapped in europe during the rise of the nazis. the letters provide an insight
4:21 pm
into the worsening condition in the 1930s and the mindset of the jews and the american government during this period. this is about 50 minutes. >> good evening and welcome. i'm susie jaffe, a member of the ajc national board of governors and past president of ajc's new york region. i am truly delighted that so many of you have come to ajc headquarters this evening to help celebrate the launch of "exit berlin: how one woman saved her family from nazi germany," and to hear directly from charlotte bonelli, the group's author and director of ajc archives. i read the book cover to cover in one seating, and i can promise you, you're in for a real treat. "exit berlin" is based on more than 300 letters lucy hatch wrote to her parents and other relatives left behind in germany after she came by herself to new york in 1938 about a week
4:22 pm
after -- [inaudible] and also letters she wrote to her american cousin arnold in albany who assisted in so many ways in the rescue. the letters offer unique insights into nazi germany, and the holocaust from the perspective of one young german-you -- german-jewish woman and how an average family responded to the holocaust to assist relatives who they may or may not have known trapped in europe. charlotte will provide her presentation, more details about the letters and the impact of the letters. i do want to remind us that in an age of smartphones, twitter and other rapid communication technologies, that back in the 1930s when lucy set out to save her family, detailed correspondence was the main communication tool. now i would like to welcome a couple of guests in the audience; stephen solomon and roger blaine who represented lucy for many years.
4:23 pm
it was roger who found the letters in lucy's forest hills apartment where she had lived alone for 61 years. and it was roger who called charlotte, our author, to tell her about the letters. you see, there was a direct ajc connection. lucy, for most of her life in new york, worked at ajc in this very building on the -- gene tells me on the second floor right below where we're now sitting. by chance, she landed a job here only four months after her arrival from germany and continued to work at ajc for the next 38 years until 1977. a few members of the staff remember luzie well. david will say a few words, then we will hear directly from charlotte. there will be questions and answers after charlotte speaks. lastly, i want to point out that c-span is here to film this "exit berlin" event for its
4:24 pm
popular booktv program. we will let you know when it is scheduled to air in the coming weeks. thank you. [applause] >> good evening and thank you, susie, for introducing the program. i am a lucky perp. i had -- person. i had the privilege to know luzie, as susie mentioned. i joined ajc staff in 1979 which was two years after luzie retired, but then she never really retired. [laughter] she kept coming back to the building on a regular basis. this was really her family in many ways, and so i met her when i was a young staff member and got to know her for well over the years. of course, what i didn't know, what i think none of us knew and i'm looking at those who were there at the same time, people like gene duval, was this
4:25 pm
treasure-trove of letters and the story that it held and that has now been revealed by my colleague, charlotte bonelli, who's done this extraordinary work, and the result is the book that brings us all together today. so for me, luzie's story is really a story of several things. it's a story, first of all, of what each of us can do if only we choose to do it. you know, if one wants to think about heroes and hear wynns and want -- herr wynns and wants to set out to know what they are like, our popular world suggests that they have to be of a certain type, daring and big and strong and brave and who knows what. luzie, had she been in this room, would not have filled much physical space. not at all. so at first glance she might not have been the image of the hero
4:26 pm
of the heroine. so in a sense lu,uzie's experiee is not something for us to read and absorb and cry over and occasionally smile over, it's also a challenge. i believe it's a challenge to each and every one of us to ask ourselves are we capable of such action? quiet, unheralded, unsung, under very difficult circumstances, susie, as you said a while back when people depended on mail and it was not always the most reliable thing in wartime. mail across oceans and continents. so the second thing for me about luzie is that when i got to know her, she was very deeply involved in our pioneering german programming. now, that may at first glance not have been the likeliest place for luzie to spend her life.
4:27 pm
after all, a few years before she had fled germany. she had spent years trying to get her family out of the clutches of the third reich. and yet here she was a couple of decades later in the forefront, devoting a great deal of her life to trying to build new bridges of understanding and cooperation between germany, the jewish people through the vehicle of ajc. and that, to me, as well as a very -- is a very powerful story, a powerful story that suggests that as has been said by famous philosopher, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. and i believe that that was, indeed, her outlook. and finally for me, the luzie story is personal not just because i knew and cared about her and not just because i know and care about you, charlotte bonelli, and this remarkable effort you've made, but also because on a very personal level
4:28 pm
i identify with the story. had it not been for a hand named morris ruby -- a man named morris ruby and his wife, ida, who lived in mahoney city, pennsylvania, an improbable destination for a family that began their life in russia, 14 members of my family would never have made it to the united states. and since those 14 people include my mother, i dare say i would not be standing here but for another luzie hatch. i cherish her memory, i honor her memory, and i ask all of us to be inspired to our own actions in response to the actions that she took on behalf of her family. so thank you for being here and, charlotte, a special thanks to you for bringing this story to life. [applause]
4:29 pm
>> thank you. can you hear me? yes. just a few quick thank yous here. i'd like to thank susie jaffe for chairing this event tonight. and i also want to say one other thing here. before there was "exit berlin," there was just a dusty pile of letters. and when i said, you know, this is a book here -- there's a book here, this is something special, we have a book here, some people were not quite so believing. but not david harris. from the very beginning, he was enthusiastic about this project, and i really appreciated it. i would also like to thank our very able and spirited translator, natasha bodeman, who is here. a friend of mine and an outstanding english professor who told me these letters could be framed in a narrative. i was not initially so convinced, but she persisted. bonnie federman, a constant source of wise advise and the
4:30 pm
very talented literary agent who handled this, and that would be carol mann. and i would be remiss if i did not find ken -- [inaudible] for his hard work in bringing "exit berlin" to the attention of the public. and so we come to "exit berlin." "exit berlin" began with a phone call i received one day from a very excited attorney. he had a donation for the ajc archives, a collection of world war ii-era letters he had stumbled upon in the apartment of the late luzie hatch, the jewish refugee from berlin. i have to admit i was not very interested. in the past people had come forth with donations, and they had never proved suitable. but this attorney was so excited about his discovery, and it was clear to me that he was not about to give in so easily. and there was another factor. although i had never known luzie, i knew she had spent a lifetime at ajc, and i said to
4:31 pm
myself how can you not even look at the letters? and so out of respect for her memory on a brutal summer day i took the subway out to her apartment in queens, i got into the studio apartment, and roger blaine is standing there. he gives me a black binder just bursting with correspondence. and as i started to turn the pages, i began to notice something unusual. not only were there letters luzie had received from all over the world, but there were often copies of her outgoing letters. this was matching correspondence, there were both sides of the story here. matching correspondence is something you expect in government collections. you expect it in business collections. for a personal collection from this time period, it was almost unheard of. i turned to roger blaine and told him i would accept the collection. luzie hatch fled germany
4:32 pm
certainly after crystal -- [inaudible] with the help of her american-born cousin and industrialist arnold hatch. once she is here, all those family members trapped behind in germany ask the obvious question. if arnold saved luzie, why can't he save me? what about me? however, arnold did not know german, and they did not know english, so luzie hatch became both translator and advocate. she was, in effect, a clearinghouse. requests to arnold passed through her as do his responses. and here we come to another unique feature of this collection. much has been written about how communal institutions, jewish writers and politicians responded to the holocaust. but little attention has been given to the jewish-american family. indeed, when reading arnold's correspondence, it was the first time i ever stopped to really think and appreciate what it was
4:33 pm
like for family to deal with this crisis. arnold corresponded not only with his relatives, but bank officials, immigrant aid societies, u.s. court officials. there was always a letter to write, and there were always nagging questions. had his relative received his letter? had his relative received the money he had sent, or had a nazi official pocketed it? was he following u.s. immigration law? at one point he's concerned that he has filed so many affidavits that he wonders that perhaps he has broken the law. as arnold deals with these questions, he does so through the prism of the depression. in 1933 when his german-born father had died, he inherited hatch knitting. when operating at full capacity, factory employed 1,000. yet in 1933 there were weeks
4:34 pm
when the doors opened in the morning and only 150 people passed through to report to a job. understandably, he wants to to plan. he wants to be cautious and know that there'll be work for his relatives who arrive. but for those living under the increasingly brutal hand of naziism, the first issue at hand was not their economic future, but the simple and vital need to escape, to be free, to survive. when luzie first arrives in america, her top priority was to get affidavits for her father, edwin, step lore helene. you can see helene is on the right, luzie is on the left, her young brother ralph and also for her uncle, leo stein, who was in prison. these documents were basically pledges signed by arnold stating that if his family could not find work in america, he would take care of them, he would
4:35 pm
accept responsibility. and luzie secures these documents, and she sends them to germany rather quickly, actually quite quickly, within less than a month of her arrival. and her family does make it here, although after a very difficult stay in shanghai, one that would prove nearly fatal for her young brother, ralph. while her immediate family was her primary responsibility, there were others as well. everybody is crying for help, she wrote to arnold. the situation in europe is terrible. in the limited time i have, i would like to turn briefly to just three of those individuals starting with luzie's aunt martha from colon, germany. her experience shows that arnold was separated from his relatives not merely by thousands of miles, but by a chasm of differing perspectives. in 1940 aunt martha sent word of
4:36 pm
her reasonable plan of escape. from her perspective, this is reasonable. arnold will see this quite differently. with her 12-year-old daughter, she would take the train oberlin, then to moscow, then the transsiberian railroad to the port of sad so stock. if you look at the map, you get some sense of the distance they would be traveling. once there, they would continue on by ship to japan. once in japan, they could get another ship and go on to shanghai which was an open port city. she needed arnold's financial assistance. here is his opinion. thousand, it is utterly impractical at this time to send two women from colon via siberia and japan. the journey is hazardous and uncertain, and the american express company in accepting the utterly impossible sum of $700 per person does not guarantee a thing.
4:37 pm
i cannot get into plans as insane as this. things will just have to wait until this war is over. i appreciate that martha will be bitterly disappointed, but there is nothing else that can be done for the time being. i did not start this war, and i cannot finish it, and i cannot change the conditions that result from it. luzie has no choice but to follow arnold's instructions, yet when you hear this letter -- it will be read by hettie boxman, you will see that she does so with a caveat. you'll hear the term -- [inaudible] and that is the german-jewish aid society. >> august 30th, 1940. my dear aunt martha: this letter encloses a very disappointing message for you, unfortunately,
4:38 pm
and i'm dreadfully sorry that i must write this note. arnold is against you going on the long, burdensome and expensive trip over russia and japan. i want the give you a personal advice now. i have information for you. i have found out that the journey through russia has so far up been sponsored -- often been sponsored by the -- [inaudible] please contact them immediately to work this out for you. i strongly believe it might be easier to have arnold do something if one could tell him that funding up to japan is insured. i'm very sorry, this is the only advice i'm able to give you at the moment. i think about you, and i do everything in my power, but my limits are all too restricted, unfortunately. i will remain being committed, and i will not forget all of
4:39 pm
you, luzie. >> thank you. luzie found herself sandwiched between -- sorry. luzie found herself sandwiched between two profoundly conflicting forces; her american cousin's caution and the growing desperation of her relatives in germany. this is a delicate situation for a single woman in her 20s trying to make her way in new york where she is overwhelmed by the energy, the size and the diversity of the city. interestingly, she was surprised at her reaction, for luzie was no country girl. she came from berlin, one of the world's great cities. yet luzie quickly learned that while there are many great cities in the world, there is only one new york. while she is seldom revealed her
4:40 pm
inner thoughts, she wasn't commented: my parents think because i am here i can do everything for them, but they forget that i haven't quite warmed up here and can't even feed myself. the second correspondence i'd like to speak about is cousin dora hecht for she introduces a chapter of the holocaust that has remained largely unknown outside of academic circles. cousin dora was a single woman in her 60s. she lived in the famed resort town of badden badden. her sister is on the left, marta was lucky enough to be able to make it toal stein with her family. to palestine with her family. in late 1940s dora's letters no longer come, but had the return address -- [inaudible] barrack 9, pyrenees, france. i was so perplexed when i first
4:41 pm
saw this return address. i remember sitting in my office and looking at the envelope and saying what is camp -- [inaudible] and how has this elderly, sick woman landed there? on october 22, 1940, starting at six in the morning, nazi officials began knocking on the doors in jewish homes in cities and towns in the region. jewish residents were given between 15 minutes to one hour to pack their bags. it's important to note that at this time the nazis' jewish policy was not extermination. rather, it was immigration that would be implemented through terror and discrimination. given that the world refused to cooperate, shutting its doors, it's not surprising that the nazis cast their eyes on the southwestern corner of vichy, france, where the camp is situated. you can see the camp in red there. there are other camps as well. it had originally been built for
4:42 pm
refugees fleeing the spanish civil war. it is not fully occupied, and this leaves the nazis to conclude that here is a convenient dumping ground for at least some of germany's jews. you can see germany in blue on the next map. at the bottom is dora's hometown. it is from this southwestern region of germany that 6,504 jews are deported to vichy, france. the nazis' badden roster revealed that 116 were to be deported, but as ann gel la schindler, a colleague of mine from germany, recently pointed out to me the actual number was 112. the morning of the deportation four individuals committed suicide. and what did badden badden look like at this point? it was disproportionately elderly and tale. 66% -- and female. 66% of the deportees were women,
4:43 pm
and 58% were 60 or older. while the camp, their destination, was not a death camp, death was always present. as revealed in the diary of oscar wolfe. monday, december 2, 1940: today again we had 12 funerals. this is an unworthy existence. tuesday, december 3, 1940: today we had 14 funerals. wednesday, december 4: today we had 17 funerals. let me justed that these images and the one -- just add that these images and the ones that will follow, they were done by interknees. it was of elsa castor, she managed to smuggle out 150 pieces of art from the camp. driving the camp's mortality rate were barracks that kept out neither the rain, nor the cold. inadequate medical supplies,
4:44 pm
poor sanitation and in large part the severe underfour bishment of the interknees. the daily ration was 1200 calories. at the end of 1941, it is reduced to 1,000. free months of yom kippur described his time there. care packages from friends or relatives were greatly appreciated. in one letter, dora hecht wrote: i received from dear elsa an excellent big cake. you cannot imagine the happiness when a package like that is delivered to you and with what great appetite everything is relished. and in this drawing you see how one loaf of bread completely commands the attention of this group. and the artists have really conveyed the great care with which every single slice will be cut. at the end of february 1941, cousin dora sent a letter that had a bit of hope in it. the exodus has already begun.
4:45 pm
the barracks are slowly emptying out. it is possible that we may move to a new camp which we are all very happy about. there we will have brighter rooms and a table and chair where we can take our meals. dora was correct, a great change was underway. however, she was wrong to believe that she would be part of the transfer. she stayed behind in barrack 9 and would pass away some months after she had pepped her hopeful -- penned her hopeful letter. while aunt martha showed us the differing viewpoints of arnold and his relatives and dora hecht introduced us to the camp, luzie brings us directly into the world of germany's graying jewish population. by 1941 two-thirds of german jews would be past middle age. luzie's aunt paula was a widow,
4:46 pm
her husband had fallen in world war i. aunt paula is on the right, on the left is her sister. this photo's, obviously, from a much earlier time period in her life. paula's three children had gone to palestine. in addition, she had watched as relatives and neighbors one after another left germany. as the dangers are ever increasing, her support network is decreasing. paula steinberg was trapped in a world that was getting smaller and smaller. and while she expressed the hope of joining her children in palestine, i think that on the inside she must have realized that she was never going to see her children or grandchildren again. and the depression and fear that she experienced must have fueled her anger with luzie for not writing with greater frequency.
4:47 pm
heike will read excerpts from are two of aunt paula's letters for you. >> may 10, 1939: your letter arrived approximately one hour ago, and you will receive an answer right away. you certainly don't deserve it, because, dear luzie, you can believe me, never in my life have i been as disappointed as i was that you couldn't write to me sooner than half a year later. i couldn't and didn't want to believe that you could be so disloyal. it really hurt me, but in the end i had to accept it. there are no excuses. a short card while in transit or upon arrival would have sufficed to make your aunt happy. and that is why when your father sent me greetings from you and apologized on your behalf i
4:48 pm
wrote to him that i no longer attach great importance to your correspondence. it is also two months now since anna and gustav arrived in palestine with the children, and so you can imagine my loneliness. they are living in -- [inaudible] for the time being. but now first to you, dear luzie. first of all, i wish you a very, very happy birthday and all the best. above all, stay healthy and continue to be courageous and sented us your engagement -- send us your engagement announcement to the -- [inaudible] then maybe you can have me come over, because otherwise, dear luzie, we will surely never see each other again in this life type. with lots -- lifetime. with lots of love and a heartfelt birthday kiss from your aunt paula. [inaudible conversations]
4:49 pm
>> thank you. you can listen to additional recordings by heike and also by other actors at exitberlin.org. in addition to luzie's correspondence with her family, "exit berlin" has her exchanges with friends who had escaped germany. i thought it was important to put these in the book because these letters were important to luzie. once luzie left ajc at the end of the workday, she was anonymous figure in this vast city. how wonderful it must have been to go home and find a letter from someone who cared about her. and these are not letters about immigration quotas or ship tickets. rather, at least at times they brought good news whether it was hans hirshfeld, her friend who
4:50 pm
writes from toronto, who sent this advertisement of his new gift ware business, or arnold got challenge who made his way to ending land, or the freelanders, very dear friends, who sent word from bolivia of their daughter inga's wedding. while these letters warmed the soul, they may also have provided, excuse me, luzie with a bit of confidence. these friends are starting to move forward as luzie is. there will be a future. and so to sum up, arnold hatch would not live to see the end of the war. he died in october of 1943. while he did reject ideas that from his perspective seemed dangerous or insane, there are other actions that should be remembered. in 1938 he brought luzie and her cousin to america, then helped them settle in new york.
4:51 pm
he had sent money to cousin dora in badden badden. he had sent money to relatives who had made it to palestine. when luzie's family first arrived in shanghai, he wired them $312. it was probably in excess of $1,000 to bring her family from shanghai to america and settle them in queens, new york. these are not insignificant sums of money in the depression, and this was not a hand who was lacking -- a man who was lacking in generosity in any way. and i just want to share with you a piece of information. it's not in the book because i actually only learned of it a few weeks ago. and it came from lisa and charles blackman, saw is arnold hatch's great granddaughter. when america enters the war and some workers from finishing uld and hatch are drafted, ad decides that he -- arnold decides that he does not want the boys, as he calls them, he
4:52 pm
does not want the boys fighting abroad and worrying about their families back home. so at least for the first year, he will continue to pay their wages. and to take this one step further, he does not want any publicity for this. arnold hatch had no interest in being a front page patriot. and what of luzie? the "exit berlin" exhibit currently on display at the holocaust center of nassau county ends with this panel: luzie and ajc, an enduring partnership. and that is certainly what it was. from 1939 to 1977, she worked as an administrative assistant here at ajc. in 1981 she returns to volunteer for ajc's newly-launched conrad -- [inaudible] exchange program. this is a program where german participants come here for an intensive look at american jewish society and their more

9 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on